Scotland's national library is seeking new writers to document their experiences of the past year and add them to its collection.

The National Library of Scotland says that the works will sit alongside the literary heavyweights among its collection, and plans to award a £1,000 bursary to those who successfully join the scheme. 

The Library is calling for applications to ‘Fresh Ink’, a programme for up to ten emerging writers penning works to the theme of ‘my experience of 2020’.

Led by poet, writer, and creative practitioner, Nadine Aisha Jassat, the initiative will provide financial support to emerging writers, and assist their careers by establishing connections with Scotland’s most prestigious literary archive.

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Ms Jassat said:“I am delighted to be a part of the National Library of Scotland’s Fresh Ink programme. Libraries are homes of stories, and knowledge, and listening; and I’m delighted to see the Library embodying that in its call to Scotland’s emerging creatives to hear their experiences of 2020.

“As many have noted, while there may be similarities for many during the pandemic, there have also been stark differences, and each of the creatives contemplating this open call will likely have their own stories to tell – stories which may bring with them resonances, or open doors which say ‘this is my story of 2020, and I am here to tell it’.

"I look forward to hearing some of these stories, to witnessing them becoming part of Scotland’s literary heritage in the Library’s archives, and to being part of a project which supports the growth of emerging artists in a year which has been filled with so many unknowns and challenges.”


Nadine Jassat - pic Chris Scott

Commissions will be awarded to those who can provide evidence of their suitability and their commitment to writing through the submission of previous work.

The allocation of commissions will be decided by a panel. Writers are being encouraged to choose from a range of genres and forms including fiction, poetry, short fiction, graphic novella, drama, flash fiction, and creative non-fiction.

The Library is particularly keen to receive applications from writers from under-represented groups, in particular from women, members of BAME communities, LGBTQ+ communities, people with disabilities, and from the diverse range of social and cultural communities which exist in Scotland.

Writers are free to respond in Scots, English, or Gaelic.

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National Librarian Dr John Scally added: “It’s fair to say 2020 has been a year like no other, and we believe Scotland’s writers will have much to say about it. We encourage writers from across the country, from all walks of life, and from a wide range of perspectives to apply for this initiative.

“The Library has been the ‘go-to’ location for preserving Scotland’s creative writing from the mid-20th century, and it’s important that we continue to capture and preserve a wide range of contemporary voices for future generations. This initiative will undoubtedly alert us all to exciting new talent in Scotland.”

A timeline for Fresh Ink:

Deadline for applications – 4 January 2021

Writers commissioned – 25 January 2021

Commissioned works submitted – 17 March 2021